Category Archives: Soups, Stews, and Chili

Bean and Barley Soup

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I made this soup on a very cold day earlier this month and it was just what I needed to warm up! Not only did it feel good to have a hot bowl of soup on such a cold day, but it was great eating something healthy, especially after all the rich holiday foods and sweets I had been indulging in.

This is a veggie soup with lots of good things in it like carrots, celery, onion, red kidney beans, tomatoes, baby spinach, and some pearl barley–all cooked in a vegetable broth. It’s easy to make, tastes great,  and is low on calories. So if you’ve made a new year’s resolution to eat healthier, you’ll have to try this out!

BEAN AND BARLEY SOUP by NancyC, adapted from Homemade Soups Made Simple

Makes 6 servings, about 170 calories per serving

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped or sliced carrots
  • 1 1/4 cups sliced celery stalks
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup uncooked pearl barley (I used Quaker® Quick Pearled Barley)
  • 2 cups firmly packed chopped fresh baby spinach leaves
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Cook and stir until vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Stir in the broth, beans, tomatoes, and barley. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 30 minutes or until barley is done.

Stir in chopped spinach leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired. Cook until spinach is tender.

Soup makes a great meal when it’s cold out, and I think homemade soup it so much better than any you can buy. Do you like having soup in the winter too? What’s your favorite kind of soup to make?

Sharing this recipe at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

Easy Lasagna Soup

Easy Lasagna Soup @ NancyC

If you’re craving lasagna but don’t have the time to make it, this soup just might be the next best thing. Not only is it easy to make, it doesn’t take a whole lot of time. And it really does have that delicious lasagna flavor! It’s so hearty and thick, too, with ground beef, chopped green bell pepper, chopped onion, and lots of rotini noodles. Oh, and don’t forget the Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top–you really must have that!

EASY LASAGNA SOUP by NancyC, adapted from Taste of Home

Makes about 8 servings

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium size onion, chopped
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 2/3 cups uncooked rotini (corkscrew pasta)
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese and Mozzarella cheese, for sprinkling on top

In large saucepan, cook beef, green pepper, and onion over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes or until meat is no longer pink, breaking up beef into crumbles. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain excess grease.

Stir in tomatoes, broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Stir in uncooked pasta and return to a boil again. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 12 minutes or until pasta is tender.

Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with 1/2 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese and 1 Tablespoon Mozzarella cheese, then serve.

Comfort food in a bowl, that’s what this lasagna soup is! This has become one of my new favorite winter soups! What’s yours?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Inspire Me Monday. Show and Share, Wow Me Wednesday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Create It Thursday, Favorite Things Thursday, Saucy Saturdays, Weekend Potluck.

Retro Beef Stew

Retro Beef Stew @ NancyC

I found a beef stew recipe in a vintage promotional cookbook that was published in 1961, the Cutco Cook Book. I found the Cutcocookbook at a flea market for $1.00, so I couldn’t pass it up! I love the vintage illustrations in these old cookbooks and it’s always fun to try recipes from them.

I first made this stew about four years ago, and this is actually a repost of the recipe–my original photo was really bad–this one’s a little better! I made a few more tiny changes to the recipe, too–I used light olive oil instead of vegetable oil (you can also use canola oil), used a little less water, and added a little more peas. The new amounts are updated in the recipe below.

Winter is the perfect time to eat a hot bowl of stew and I made this on one of the coldest days we’ve had so far this season! It’s a very chunky stew, so if you’re wanting to make something hearty, you’ll have to try this. The cookbook says the recipe serves four, but I think it’s more like six–it makes a big potful of stew! If you like your food well–seasoned, you’ll probably want to add additional salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning to taste; otherwise you may find this stew a little bland.

I made the stew in my cast iron Dutch Oven, but you can use whatever kind of pot with a lid that you like–just make sure it’s a large one! 🙂

RETRO BEEF STEW by NancyC, adapted from the 1961 Cutco Cook Book

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 1/2 pounds stew beef (or chuck or round beef, cut into 1-inch chunks)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons non-GMO canola oil or light olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 (1-lb.) bag baby carrots that are peeled and ready to use–slice each baby carrot in thirds OR use 8 medium-size carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ thick slices
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen peas
  • additional salt and pepper (or your favorite seasoning) to taste, if desired

If you are cutting your own chunks of meat, trim excess fat from meat first, then cut into chunks.

Combine flour, pepper, and salt in a large ziploc bag; add chunks of meat; shake until pieces are coated.

Add oil to Dutch Oven over medium heat; add meat chunks and brown on all sides.

Add diced onion and garlic, then boiling water, canned tomatoes, and Worcestershire Sauce. Stir well to combine ingredients.

Cover and reduce heat to low; simmer for 1 hour. Add potatoes, carrots, and peas, and simmer for another hour or until potatoes and carrots are tender. Season with additional salt and pepper (or your favorite seasoning) to taste, if desired.

Stew is just the thing to warm you up on a cold day! Have you made any good stews this winter season? What ingredients do you like to use to add more flavor to them?

Linked to Fiesta Friday. Sunday Features, Happiness is Homemade, Inspire Me Monday, Show and Share, Wow Us Wednesday, Wake Up Wednesday, Wow Me Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Create It Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Share Your Style, Thursday Favorite Things, Showcase Your Talent Thursday.

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Homestyle Chicken Veggie Noodle Soup

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After having some wonderful spring-like days in the middle of winter, more cold and snow came this past week–brrr! I’ve always liked having a bowl of hot chicken noodle soup to warm up in weather like this. When I decided to make some chicken soup at the spur of the moment, I didn’t have a lot of fresh veggies on hand, but I did have a large can of homestyle chunky veggies. So I made a really easy chicken soup with that–very chunky and brimming with veggies, noodles, and lots of diced chicken. It’s a little more work than opening a can of soup, but since this is more like homemade, it’s worth the little extra effort!

HOMESTYLE CHICKEN VEGGIE NOODLE SOUP by NancyC, adapted from Betty Crocker

Makes about 4 servings

  • 1 Tablespoon non-GMO canola oil or light olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions (slice up both the green and white part)
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (29-ounce) can mixed vegetables, drained (carrots, potatoes, celery, peas, onions–I used Veg-All Homestyle Large Cut Vegetables) or use an equivalent amount of mixed frozen veggies
  • 3 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 3 cups (6 ounces) uncooked egg noodles
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a large saucepan (3-quart or larger), heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and green onions and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in remaining ingredients and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender. Serve immediately.

I love how chunky this chicken soup is! Do you make homemade chicken soup often?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Inspire Me MondayShow and Share, Full Plate Thursday.

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Veggie Black Bean Chili

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If you’re wanting something to eat that will warm you up during this chilly winter season, this Veggie Black Bean Chili is definitely the recipe to make! It’s easy to put together and healthy, too–with black beans, onion, garlic, green bell pepper, crushed tomatoes, green chiles, and corn. And I was happily surprised to find that I could find organic ingredients, even for the canned items, at the regular grocery store I go to. They’re starting to carry more organic items, which is great!

This chili is super thick and chunky with a lightly spicy flavor (if you don’t want any spiciness, leave out the crushed red pepper). The red wine vinegar gives it a little zing–I thought I’d use that instead of salt. I didn’t top my chili with anything, but you could garnish it with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese, or some sliced green onions…or all three!

VEGGIE BLACK BEAN CHILI by NancyC

Makes 4 servings

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium size sweet yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium size green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (red pepper flakes)
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 (7-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel corn
  • Optional: sour cream, cheddar cheese, and/or finely sliced green onion stems, for garnish

In a large pot or Dutch oven, saute onion, garlic, and green bell pepper in oil over medium low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Stir in chili powder, cumin, paprika, crushed red pepper, and red wine vinegar, then cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes.

Add black beans, crushed tomatoes, water, green chilies, and corn; stir ingredients together, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes. Serve immediately.

Chili is one of my favorite fall and winter dishes. And I love trying new chili recipes! Do you have a favorite chili recipe you like making?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

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Easy Pantry Minestrone from Weight Watchers What To Cook Now-and a Giveaway!

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51NVSI2WbxLLike so many people I know, I’m trying to eat a little healthier during this new year. So when I heard about the new cookbook, Weight Watchers What To Cook Now, I was definitely interested in reviewing it! Not only did I receive a review copy, the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, is also providing a giveaway copy! I’ll tell you a little about the book and share a recipe from it with you, and then be sure to enter the giveaway by leaving a comment–see the end of this post for details on how to win!

This cookbook has more than 300 new recipes and lots of color photos. There’s a wonderful variety of great-sounding recipes to choose from–meals and desserts that your whole family can enjoy. And they look easy to prepare, too. All recipes include nutritional information and the Weight Watcher PointsPlus® values so those of you in Weight Watchers can easily keep track of your points. Even if you’re not in Weight Watches, though, I’m sure these recipes would appeal to any of you who are wanting to eat lighter and healthier.

The book starts out with tips and helpful information on good nutrition, the well-stocked pantry, must-have kitchen tools, food safety, and choosing and preparing fresh fruits and veggies. Then you’ll find recipes organized in the following chapters: Breakfasts and Brunches; Lunches; Appetizers and Snacks; Main Dishes–Beef, Pork, and Lamb; Main Dishes–Poultry; Main Dishes–Seafood; Main Dishes-Vegetarian; 20-Minute Main Dishes; Side Dishes; and Sweets. So there’s lots to choose from! Here are some recipes I’d like to try…

  • Coconut-Almond French Toast with Tropical Fruit
  • Asian Burgers with Honey-Lime Slaw
  • Spinach and Endive Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette
  • Italian Beef and Mushroom Meat Loaf
  • Brown Sugar-Dijon Glazed Ham with Sweet Potatoes
  • Maple-Glazed Grilled Chicken
  • Pan-seared Tuna with Citrus-Avocado Salsa
  • Warm Mozzarella and Tomato Flatbreads
  • Gingery Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry
  • Garlicky Spinach and Fontina Pizza
  • Chocolate Brownie Ice-Cream Sandwiches

For this post, I decided to try the Easy Pantry Minestrone from the Vegetarian section, since I had been wanting to make minestrone this winter. It’s a good, healthy soup with lots of veggies (carrots, onion, celery, zucchini), red beans, and chickpeas. Dried basil also flavors the soup, and you serve it with a teaspoon-size dollop of pre-made refrigerated pesto which also adds nicely to the flavor!

EASY PANTRY MINESTRONE from Weight Watchers What To Cook Now

Makes 6 servings

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 7 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup whole wheat macaroni or other small pasta (uncooked)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons refrigerated basil pesto

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds.

Add broth, kidney beans, chickpeas, macaroni, and basil and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and zucchini and simmer until pasta and vegetables are very tender, 10 minutes longer. Ladle into bowls and top each with 1 teaspoon pesto.

PER SERVING (1 bowl): 307 Cal, 6 g Total Fat, Og Trans Fat, 1 mg Chol, 876 mg Sod, 53 g Carb, 10 g Fib, 14 g Prot, 120 mg Calc.

PointsPlus value: 8

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I really like the dollop of pesto–it gives the soup an extra little zing of flavor when you stir it in!

 

THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED! Congratulations to commentor #8, Aline, for winning the book!

Now for the Giveaway…if you’d like to enter to win a copy of Weight Watchers What To Cook Now, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Wednesday, January 22, at 10 p.m. (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! The winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced on Thursday evening, January 23. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post–it would be great to hear what your favorite healthy dish is!

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

Note: If your comment doesn’t show up right away, it just means I need to click on it to approve it before it’s visible–I do this because of spam comments that sometimes come through!

Lentil Soup with Bacon

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It was such a cold, cold, cold, cold day, and I just had to make some soup! Lentil soup sounded good and I already had lentils. I found a soup recipe at MarthaStewart.com that not only had lentils, but bacon, too–and that sounded really good!

I used turkey bacon in this, and I used a larger amount. And I added extra onions because I love onions. Since I like my soups thicker, I also added less water–I guess you could even call it a stew because it’s thick and chunky! If you prefer to keep this vegetarian, just omit the bacon–it’s still a very good basic lentil soup recipe! I like the little punch of flavor that the red wine vinegar gives this soup, which is added at the end of cooking, along with some salt and pepper. This soup is just what you need to help you warm up on a super cold winter day like today!

LENTIL SOUP WITH BACON by NancyCreative, adapted from MarthaStewart.com

Makes 4 servings

  • 6 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used turkey bacon)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4″ half-moons
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups lentils, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth (3 1/2 cups) or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water (if you want a thinner soup, use 2 cups of water)
  • 1 Tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a Dutch oven or other 5-quart pot with lid, cook bacon over medium-low heat until browned and crisp, 7 to 10 minutes (turkey bacon may need less time). Pour off all but 1 Tablespoon of the fat (if you use turkey bacon like I did, you won’t have much fat, so just add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to your cooking pot).

Add onion and carrots; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, cooking about 30 seconds, then stir in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute.

Add lentils, thyme, broth, and water. Bring to a boil; lower heat and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes.

Stir in vinegar, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately.

Thick, chunky soups are a favorite cold-weather meal of mine! What do you like to eat when it’s really cold outside?

Gayla’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

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This is a thick, creamy, chunky, spicy soup that you really need to try! I first heard about it from my friend Ann, who raved about this soup that Gayla had made for a special luncheon. I had the recipe for awhile, and finally had a chance to try it–it’s a wonderful chicken tortilla soup! It has some peppers, onion, and green chilies in it, along with pinto and northern beans, and flavored rice. And the chicken chili seasoning gives this soup such a great flavor!

I’ve tasted some other yummy things Gayla has made before (she makes the prettiest decorated Christmas cookies!), so I’m not surprised this soup of hers is so yummy, too! Not only is Gayla a great cook and baker, she also creates pretty homespun decor items like rag quilts and burlap Christmas trees. You can take a look at these items, and many other things she’s made, at her site called Jubilee Fabric where she also sells fabric and quilt supplies. If you like crafts with a little more bling, you’ll want to visit her other site, Jubilee Rhinestones, that features supplies and craft ideas for iron-on rhinestones, transfers, and decal stickers.

If you’re not a crafter, you may just be interested in making this soup–and I’m sure you will love it as much as I do! It is a spicy soup, so use mild Rotel and omit the can of green chilies if you’d like it less spicy. I really like the spiciness in this, though! This recipe makes a big potful of soup, about 8-10 servings.

GAYLA’S CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

Makes about 8 to 10 servings

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 (1.25-ounce) packets White Chicken Chili Seasoning (two brands I’ve used are Williams and McCormick)
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, deboned and shredded (or cook a package of chicken breast tenders and shred them)
  • 1 (10-ounce) can Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies, drained
  • 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (6 to 6.9-ounce) package of chicken-flavored rice (the “side dish” kind-I used Rice-A-Roni Chicken flavor)
  • 2/3 of a pint of heavy cream (or about 1 1/3 cups)
  • For garnish: crushed tortilla chips, grated or shredded cheese, and/or sour cream

In a large stockpot over low heat, melt butter and saute peppers and onion until tender. Add chicken broth and water and bring to a boil. Add seasoning packets and bring to a boil; boil for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the heavy cream. Cook over medium heat for about 20 to 30 minutes or until rice is tender. Just before serving, add cream until the soup is creamy enough for your taste.

This can also be made in the slow cooker on the LOW setting–cook on LOW for several hours. Add the cream the last 30 minutes of cooking.

To serve, top each bowl of soup with crumbled tortilla chips, grated or shredded cheese, and/or a dollop of sour cream.

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This is the second chicken tortilla soup recipe I’ve tried this fall. Another good one that I’ve made is BZ’s Chicken Tortilla Soup. What kinds of soups have you been making?

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

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We’ve had several weeks of chilly weather, and I’ve been making more soup! This time I decided to try Pumpkin Black Bean Soup. I adapted my recipe from one I found at Taste of Home. It’s a savory-flavored soup that tastes a little like chili. So if you like chili and black bean soup, I’m sure you’ll like this! In addition to the pumpkin puree, which gives the soup a nice creamy consistency even though you don’t really taste the pumpkin much, other healthy ingredients include diced tomatoes, onions, and garlic.

PUMPKIN BLACK BEAN SOUP  by NancyCreative, adapted from Taste of Home

Makes about 8 servings (2 quarts)

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups (24 ounces) vegetable broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar (I used Bragg’s)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Optional: dash of salt and pepper, to taste
  • For garnish: 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream) and 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

Place beans and tomatoes in a food processor; cover and process until blended. Set aside.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, saute onions in oil until tender. Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Stir in the broth, pumpkin, vinegar, and bean mixture, blending well. Add cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, and, if desired, salt and pepper to taste.

Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish each serving with plain Greek yogurt and sliced green onions. Each 1 cup serving is about 240 calories.

I never seem to get tired of making and eating soup, and it’s fun to try different recipes! Have you made any soups using pumpkin as an ingredient?

BZ’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Brenda, one of our art directors whose last name starts with a “Z,” is also known around the office as BZ. She gave me this recipe, adapted from Food.com, so I thought I’d call it BZ’s Chicken Tortilla Soup! It’s a creamy, mildly spicy, cheesy soup that really warms you up and fills you up!

Brenda has said she likes to throw in extra garlic sometimes when she cooks, so I thought I’d add a little more garlic to this soup. I also used olive oil instead of corn oil and Half & Half (light cream) instead of milk. If you want to try a vegetarian version, another friend, Mary, said she likes to substitute firm tofu for the chicken, cut into small chunks and browned in a skillet with olive oil.

The directions below are for making the soup on your stove top, but you can also make it in a slow cooker–see the end of the recipe for how to do that! If you have a large nonstick stock pot, that would well, too. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Brenda!

BZ’S CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP adapted from Food.com

Makes 8 servings

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup carrot, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 to 2 fresh minced garlic cloves
  • 4 (15-ounce) cans chicken broth (or use vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (10-ounce) can Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies, drained
  • 1 to 2 (1 1/2-ounce) packet(s) taco seasoning mix (start with one packet and use another packet or part of another packet if you want a stronger seasoning flavor)
  • 12 ounces chicken meat, poached and diced (or substitute pre-cooked grilled chicken strips, cut up into small chunks; or substitute rotisserie chicken); to make this vegetarian, substitute firm tofu, cut into small chunks and browned in olive oil in a skillet)
  • 1 (10-count) package corn tortillas, cut into small pieces (or substitute 1 cup of Masa Harina (Masa Flour)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup Half & Half (light cream) or milk (I just used 1/2 cup)
  • 12 ounces Monterey Jack or Fiesta/Mexican blend cheese, shredded
  • Corn Tortilla chips, crushed into small pieces, for garnish

In large stockpot, on low heat, add olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic powder or fresh garlic, and saute until tender.

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes, Rotel, taco seasoning, and chicken. Cut corn tortillas into small pieces and add to broth mixture. Let boil for 20  minutes or until tortillas are thoroughly incorporated into soup, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.

Reduce heat and add 8 ounces of the cheese to the soup mixture. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Add light cream or milk and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with remaining shredded cheese and some crushed tortilla chips.

Note: I thought the thickness of the soup was just right, but if you’d like it thicker, you can add a few more cut up corn tortillas to the soup while it’s cooking (or if using Masa Flour, add a little more flour to the soup).

You can also make this soup in a slow cooker–that’s actually how Brenda makes it. She puts all the ingredients except the milk and cheese into a crock pot on the LOW setting (she doesn’t cook her chicken beforehand, letting the chicken cook in the crock pot). Stir ingredients several different times the first hour of cooking, then cook on low for another 3 to 4 hours, or until chicken is done. Shred the chicken right in the crock pot with a fork. The last hour of cooking, stir all ingredients well and then add the cheese and milk (or light cream). Stir occasionally that last hour, until cheese is well-blended. Total cooking time  in your crock pot is 5 to 6 hours on the LOW setting.

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This was my first time making homemade chicken tortilla soup, and I’ll probably be making it many times during the fall and winter! Have you made it before?